Not only is Refuge a key topic discussed in the Bible, but it has been on the hearts of myriads of refuge-seekers throughout history. The Reformation (as a faith movement) brought sweeping changes to how "common folk" perceived and practiced their connection to God. By the time western Europeans were settling the "new world" (what eventually became the United States of America), religious freedom became a major reason for many families leaving their familiar surroundings, to explore the opportunities to worship their God in an earthly paradise.
The foreword of my book Escaping the Pain of Offense provides some vision for the part Pennsylvania played in a more recent portion of history. Dr. Robert Doe who authors the foreword, has a family heritage dating back to the Mayflower. His forefathers have held many leadership posts in arenas such as law, medicine, and government. As an ivy league medical school graduate, he practices a healing profession as doctor. His vision for practicing medicine is much more than a science. While honoring scientific advances, he believes in a much higher power, the strength of which could never be fully discovered with scientific research. Many of his patients express gratitude for his ability to help them find God in the midst of their medical treatment.
I consider myself privileged to have the opportunity to work with a team of spiritual care counselors who work alongside Dr. Doe to treat persons dealing with issues related to physical and mental health, and addictions. Our approach to helping people includes many of the themes discussed in my book called Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart. The Refuge is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
For more information about how to receive help through a Refuge Clinic (if you live in the Lancaster area), point your WWW browser to this link:
Below is a sneak preview of the beginning of the Foreword.
William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania and Delaware, wrote these words as he pondered the great possibilities of creating a ‘fresh start’ in the Americas:
“There may yet be room for such a Holy Experiment. For the Nations want a precedent and my God will make it a Seed of a Nation, that an example may be set up to the Nations. That we may do the thing that is wise and just.”
His “Holy Experiment” would establish a place where people could worship God and honor Christ without fear of persecution. Penn invited Anabaptists, Quakers and other persecution-weary peoples to live in the Americas, offering them a promise of religious freedom and a new beginning. This holy ‘seed’ of freedom to worship God together was to serve as an example of true justice and wisdom to all the nations. His vision was to create a government of the people that reflected the Kingdom of God whose foundations are justice and righteousness. Isaiah 9 was a favored passage of his, especially that portion stating that the “government shall be upon His shoulders”.
The Kingdom of God was to be reflected in the society of Pennsylvania. In Luke 9 and
10, this is revealed to be peace, healing, deliverance and new life. In addition to religious and political liberty Philadelphia was also the site of the first institutions of healing in the New World. The first hospital, medical school, pharmacy school, mental hospital, nursing school, osteopathic institute and other medical centers were developed in southeast Pennsylvania as the first of their kind in the United States. Therefore, it could also be expected that healing ministry and practical new models of Christian medical care should be a fruit of the historical blessing of our region. This pioneering of medical services in Philadelphia suggests that physical and emotional healing were also to be a “first fruit” of William Penn’s Kingdom vision.
The Foreword continues to expound on this vision and ends by quoting a verse from Hebrews 11:39-40: "And all these (ancestors), having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Each of us can make a difference in our world today because we join the heritage of refuge-seekers who found their Refuge in the God of the Bible whose sovereign plan identifies, provides and protects our value and worth in divine historical context. It's not about us, it's about HIM!
by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry